Now that 2011 is wrapped up, I want to take a bit of time to look over the year and see how I did in my training and racing.
In 2010, I ran 626.2 miles, biked 2060.8 miles and swam 69.5 miles for the year (a total of 2756.6 miles). In addition, I logged a total of 20540 minutes of training activities for the year. This was certainly a surprising figure for me and represented a lot more training than that which I had been used to doing. I knew that my goals for 2011 would require an increase, but I had no idea just how much that would be!
In 2011, I logged an amazing 30,265 minutes of training (over 21 full days!). During this time I logged 2,425.39 bike only miles, 948.79 run only miles and 161.42 swim only miles. In addition to these, I had 86.83 miles of brick workouts logged (a combination of 2 training disciplines back to back) and 206.84 triathlon miles (swim, bike and run) logged. This represents a total of 3,829.27 miles. All of these were significant increases from the previous year.
For this I will merely say, "Wow!" one more time.
All of this training does come at a serious personal cost in terms of lost opportunity to do other things with my time. However, this training did come with other significant benefits. One of these is that I entered at least 10 races where I can take measure of myself. In each case, I saw a PR where I had previously done that distance. In all the other races, I set a pace that was above a level compared to paces of previous years. Another of the benefits is that I spent a lot of time training with friends--I made a lot of new friends and got to know some previous friends even better. I spent a lot of time training together with these people and a lot more talking over food and drink after workouts as well. I found this social time to be valuable to keeping a positive mental state in all of these experiences. I also saw a corresponding in increase in my health. My test results from a late year physical exam were very good and I saw a decrease in my weight from 202.8 lbs to 179.2 lbs from January 1 to December 31 over the year. As a matter of comparison, I the last time I was 180 lbs before this year was probably in the late 1980's when I was in the Marines. Along with this, I've dropped from wearing 33 inch waist size pants to 30/31 inch waist size pants. Finally, all of these, plus the fact that I finally mentally accepted the entirety of the race schedule of my year (i.e. primarily completing Ironman Texas) had the combined effect of giving me an enormous boost of self confidence. At the beginning of the year I never quite accepted that I belonged in the same group with most of my teammates in my training group. The truth is that I came to realize later that this was really just in my head and I lacked the self-confidence to accept that I was a "real" athlete alongside these other athletes.
Of all the changes I went through this past year, I would have to say the mental growth and realization of who I really was that was hiding behind my poor mental self image was the most important growth that I experienced this year, and I suspect that it will be the most important and long lasting of these changes. A few years ago I got into triathlon thinking it would be fun and would help me overall with my training and weight loss. Little did I know that it would become a springboard to change my life for the better in so many ways.